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9 Mar, 2020 20:47

All of Italy will be ‘red zone’: Public gatherings banned, people to move only for emergency & work, says PM Conte

All of Italy will be ‘red zone’: Public gatherings banned, people to move only for emergency & work, says PM Conte

A day after northern Italy was put on lockdown over the COVID-19 coronavirus, PM Giuseppe Conte imposed quarantine on the entire country, restricting movement and banning public gatherings.

The unprecedented move was announced by Conte on Monday evening local time, and came as Italy's death toll from the coronavirus rose by almost 100.

The number of deaths jumped from 366 to 463 on Monday, while the total number of cases grew from 7,375 to 9,172. 

“There won’t be just a red zone,” Conte told reporters, referring to the restrictions imposed on the country’s north over the weekend. “There will be Italy.”

The restrictions will take effect on Tuesday morning, Conte said. They include a blanket ban on any public gatherings, sporting events, and movement all over Italy.

Citizens were advised to stay home unless they absolutely need to go to work or due to an emergency. Despite the restrictions, public transport will continue to function, the PM said.

Closures of schools and universities across the country have been extended to April 3.

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Conte’s decision has effectively extended the anti-coronavirus measures implemented for the north of the country on Sunday. The north of Italy – in particular the Lombardy region – is the hotbed of the outbreak, and the majority of registered deaths from the virus originate from this region.

Italy is dealing with the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe, which is on par with the situations in Iran and South Korea – the two other countries outside China affected the most by the epidemic.

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